I’m still wandering around singing PAPERBACK WRITER by the beatles the novelty of having a book for sale on amazon has not worn off….
Was it easy? Was it feck?
My first writing day was supposed to go like this:
• 7.30am – Up and breakfast
• 8.00am-12.00pm – Develop outline for book on my laptop in dining room where everything has been set up ready to goo
• 12.00pm – Lunch
• 12.00-5.00pm – Write first three chapters and a synopsis ready to send to Agents
• 5.00pm – Dinner
• 5.00pm – 8.00pm Review chapters and synopsis ready to email to agents tomorrow
It actually went like this:
• 10am Get out of bed 2 hours later than planned – struggling somewhat without pressure of HAVING to be at work
• 10.30am Decide it would be good to go and work in same café that JK Rowling wrote in as I live not far from it
• 11.00am Get to said café and it is full of tourists and there is a huge queue
• 11.30am Go to another coffee shop and have a panini while gazing at my notepad and doodling and not really knowing what to write down. Distract myself by scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, e-mails and texts on my phone
• 12.30pm Decide I need new clothes that befit an author and as am in town decide to have a look. Relish being in town on a weekday when it is so quiet. Choose some lovely brown cords and a green silk shirt. Debate over a smart blue beret but decide maybe too much. Go home and put on my new clothes and feel very author like. Try to decide what to wear at book launch. Sit at laptop. Feel panicked – not really sure where to start.
• 1.00pm Friend calls and suggests lunch. Decide I should go out for a quick bite to eat and show off my new outfit. Friend declares I look like a tree. Am a bit deflated. This was not the image I was going for
• 5.30pm Roll home a bit pissed after several Jack Daniels and half a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
• 7.30pm Wake up after having fallen asleep on sofa. Watch Coronation Street. Play on phone and google things like ‘how to become an author’ and ‘how to write’ and ‘’writers block’
• 10.00pm Went to bed
The next day was similarly productive but without the alcohol as I was suffering hugely from a hangover.
So, I called a therapist friend who is four years younger than me (but is exactly the kind of woman I want to be when I finally grow up for some advice. The conversation went a bit like this:
• Therapist Friend: ‘How much effort do you put into your job?’
• Me: ‘Well to be honest about 60% and that is really because I would probably get sacked otherwise and then would not be able to buy a lot of shoes – though I was thinking actually I have a lot of shoes and I was going to talk to you about career changes in later life … so…’
• Therapist Friend (interrupting): ‘OK – let’s stay on point for a minute – you’ve started going to the gym – how much effort are you putting into that?’
• Me (proudly): ‘Oh about 80%’
• Therapist Friend: ‘And how much effort do you put into your friendships’
• Me: (wondering where the feck this is going): ‘Loads – 80-90%’
• Therapist: ‘And how much effort are you putting into writing the book?’
• Me: ‘Well – ummmm’
Because in honesty not very much. I mean loads in terms of the dreaming about it; the thinking about it being on sale; the booking signings; wondering how to get a slot at the Edinburgh Book Festival; the purchase of cute little notepads from Paperchase; considering who I might dedicate the book to. But the actual writing….. Not so much.
So the next day I worked – and worked – and worked. And ate. And ate. Because eating helped me stay focussed. How all writers aren’t 40 stone is beyond me.
And I kept working at it. I screamed sometimes. I cried sometimes. I decided it wasn’t for me and I could never do a book and I was a total fuckwit for thinking I would be able to do it. I read great books and thought wtf am I thinking. And each day I said – what effort did I put into it today? And slowly that number increased.
But I kept going. And kept going. And it was a slog. The reality is to be a writer – you have to write. Then write more. Then rewrite. Then edit. Then write more. Then write more. Then edit more. That’s it….
They say everyone has a book inside them. I actually think most people have an entire library inside them.
So if you wanna be a paperback writer – go for it! It’s a roller coaster – with plunging lows – but also with exhilarating highs.
Oh – and if you want to buy the book – the e-edition has just come out and is available on Amazon